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Thread: Federal grand jury indicts deputy on civil rights charges

  1. #1
    Campaign Veteran Right Wing Wacko's Avatar
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    I debated tacking this onto an existing thread, but decided it stood better on it's own.


    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/..._deputy05.html



    Federal grand jury indicts deputy on civil rights charges
    Officer could face 15 years in prison
    By LEWIS KAMB
    P-I REPORTER


    For the first time in at least a decade, a federal grand jury in Western Washington has indicted a police officer for "color of law" civil rights violations allegedly committed against a citizen.

    King County Sheriff's Deputy Brian J. Bonnar, accused of beating a handcuffed woman during an arrest in 2005, was indicted Wednesday on charges he violated the woman's civil rights, then later lied about his actions when testifying about the matter earlier this year.

    Bonnar, 42, could face up to 15 years in prison for the two felony counts of "deprivation of civil rights" and "false declarations to the Grand Jury," the U.S Attorney's Office in Seattle reported.

    A spokeswoman for the office said Wednesday that a U.S. attorney who handles such cases cannot remember the last time a police officer has been indicted for such offenses.

    "It's accurate to say there has not been a color of law civil rights violation in at least 10 years," spokeswoman Emily Langlie said.

    Bonnar, a former Boston-area jailer turned high-paid software salesman who came to the Sheriff's Office in 2003, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He previously has told the Seattle P-I he did nothing wrong.

    His lawyer, Seattle attorney David Allen, described Bonnar as "an extremely dedicated officer" who will be exonerated at trial.

    "We're really disappointed the grand jury indicted him," Allen said. "We think that he acted very reasonably given the incredibly dangerous situation he was involved in trying to arrest a felon who was fleeing while high on high-end drugs and disobeying his commands."

    The indictment stems from the aftermath of a car chase Oct. 22, 2005, when several sheriff's deputies pursued and ultimately caught fleeing driver Irene R. Damon in the White Center area.

    Damon, 41, who has a long criminal record, rammed a pursuing patrol car and a parked car while trying to flee the officers. She later admitted she was drunk and high on crack cocaine at the time of the chase, records say.

    After the pursuit, Bonnar Tased Damon when she refused to get out of her car, records say. Four deputies then forced Damon to the ground and after a struggle, handcuffed Damon. Several deputies later alleged that while Damon was handcuffed and under police control, Bonnar assaulted her.

    "Damon had stopped fighting with us and was lying down," one deputy, Thomas Calabrese, later stated. "Deputy Bonnar then stood up, looked around, and performed a knee strike with his right knee on the right side of Damon's head. This hit her in the right eye. He stood up again, looked around and did a second strike to the same place."

    While in custody, Damon wrote, "I think I got kicked and kneed in the head and neck and shoulders about 15 times. ... I heard other deputies say: 'That's enough. Stop.'

    She also claimed Bonnar told her, "You're lucky you're not dead ... you almost ran a cop over."

    Although none of the deputies reported Bonnar's actions immediately, his supervisor noticed "discrepancies" in officer statements and at least two deputies discussed their concerns about Bonnar's behavior, leading to a formal internal investigation.

    A lower commander recommended Bonnar be fired. Sheriff Sue Rahr decided instead to suspend Bonnar for 20 days. Bonnar, who remains on the force on paid administrative leave, is appealing the suspension, Allen said. A spokesman for the King County Sheriff's Office did not immediately return a telephone call Wednesday evening.

    Along with violating Damon's constitutional rights "to be free from the use of unreasonable force by one acting under color of law," the grand jury's indictment charges Bonnar perjured himself when testifying before the grand jury Jan. 17.

    Specifically, the indictment says Bonnar lied when under oath he denied that he intentionally struck Damon while in cuffs, slammed her against a car and lifted her by her hair.

  2. #2
    Regular Member gsx1138's Avatar
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    Hopefully this will be a wake up call for those officers who like to "bend" the law. From the looks of it this guy just plain broke the law.
    "Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world." ~ Musashi

  3. #3
    Campaign Veteran Right Wing Wacko's Avatar
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    Some additional information from the Seattle Times version of the article:
    A Seattle Times investigation in 2003 showed that there has never been a criminal prosecution for a so-called "color of law" civil-rights violation by a police officer in Western Washington.

    Between 1996 and 2003, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle, in consultation with civil-rights officials in Washington, D.C., declined 47 referrals from federal agents for suspected law-enforcement civil-rights violations.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...indict05m.html


  4. #4
    Regular Member Gene Beasley's Avatar
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    Bonnar, a former Boston-area jailer turned high-paid software salesman who came to the Sheriff's Office in 2003
    I have always suspected that this is where the bulk of our LEO problems are coming from. Out of state lateral transfers that bring the mindset from their previous state.



  5. #5
    Regular Member Decoligny's Avatar
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    "It's accurate to say there has not been a color of law civil rights violation in at least 10 years," spokeswoman Emily Langlie said.


    It should read "It's accurate to say there has not been a color of law civil rights violation charge in at least 10 years."

    There have been many color of law civil rights violations reported here on OpenCarry.org in the last 10 months, but just trying to get any action from superiors is next to impossible.

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